|Backstage Studio Productions/BSP Lounge, Kingston:
BSP, located in Uptown Kingston, was originally built in the 1800’s as a Vaudeville theater. The block-long BSP complex includes a music venue, bar, dance studio, a youth theater, classroom, lecture and rehearsal hall. Local artists are routinely scheduled on weekends. BSP closed in 2020.
Contact info: BSP Lounge, 323 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401
Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Poughkeepsie:
In operation since 1869, the Bardavon Opera House is the “oldest continuously operating theater in New York State” and among the oldest in the nation. The Bardavon was originally a movie palace and became a performing arts and cinema venue in 1976. Some of the Woodstock artists who have performed on the Bardavon stage include: Levon Helm, Hot Tuna, Pat Metheny, Todd Rundgren and Cassandra Wilson, just to mention a few.
Contact info: Bardavon, 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601; (845) 473-5288; http://www.bardavon.org
Bearsville Theater, Bearsville:
This 18,000-square-foot theater opened in 1989 and is located in the Bearsville compound — a complex designed and financed by former recording industry giant Albert Grossman, the man behind The Band, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Todd Rundgren and Peter, Paul and Mary. The theater is owned by The Bear Cafe owners. In the past, Orleans recorded a double-live CD, “Orleans Live,” in 1990, and the Tony Levin Band’s CD “Double Espresso” was recorded live at Bearsville Theater. On July 3, 1999, the theater played host to Levon Helm and the Classic Blues Band. Helm, along with a few of his friends — fellow Band member Garth Hudson; Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, of Steely Dan fame; Jimmy Vivino, from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”; and Phoebe Snow — gave a memorable 2-hour show. The theater also has served as a place to mourn. On Dec. 15, 1999, several hundred people — friends, family and fans — gathered at the theater for a public memorial service for The Band’s Rick Danko. Over 400 people packed the theater on Jan. 9, 2005, to pay respect to author/historian Alf Evers. And on Aug. 28, 2005, a memorial service was held for John Herald, onetime lead vocalist/guitarist of Greenbriar Boys. The entire complex was recently renovated by owner Lizzie Vann.
Contact info: Bearsville Studios, P.O. Box 135, Bearsville, NY 12409; (845) 679-8900; http://www.bearsvilletheater.com
Black Swan Pub and Restaurant, Tivoli:
The Black Swan is an Irish pub, featuring an array of music — mostly an acoustic blend of jazz, bluegrass and rock. Black Swan is a popular hangout with Bard College students and weekenders.
Contact info: The Black Swan, 66 Broadway, Tivoli, NY 12583; (845) 757-3777
The Byrdcliffe Theater and Barn, Woodstock:
The Byrdcliffe Theater and Barn is part of the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, which opened in 1903 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It is run by the Woodstock Guild, dedicated to the conversation of the arts. Some of the more notable visitors to the arts colony include: Bob Dylan, who moved to the area following a motorcycle accident in 1966; The Band, who actually lived in Byrdcliffe while composing with Dylan; actor Chevy Chase, whose parents were artists; and actress Joanne Woodward, who acted and directed at Byrdcliffe. Many others — too numerous to name — have blessed the colony with their presence.
Contact info: The Woodstock Guild, 34 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498; (845) 679-2079; http://www.woodstockguild.org
The Chance, Poughkeepsie:
This legendary Dutchess Theater opened in 1912 as a vaudeville theater and picture house and, after going through numerous name changes and ownerships, closed from 1945 to 1970. The building reopened in 1970 as Frivolous Sal’s Last Chance Saloon. The name was later shortened to The Last Chance, then finally The Chance. Some of the big name bands playing at The Chance over the years include: AC/DC, Sheryl Crow, The Goo Goo Dolls, Bon Jovi, The Ramones, Hot Tuna, Todd Rundgren and Utopia, Stevie Ray Vaughn and many, many more. The Police played there in 1978 as virtually unknowns to an audience of three — actually four, if you count the bartender.
Contact info: The Chance Theater, 6 Crannell St., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 (845) 471-1966; http://www.thechancetheater.com
The Colony, Woodstock:
The Colony is a live music venue with late night food located in the village of Woodstock. This former hotel was built in 1927 and served as a stopover for guests who would then make the journey up Rock City Road to Overlook Mountain. The Colony closed for many years, but re-opened in 2000 and yet again in 2017 and is one of the main venues for live music in Woodstock. The Colony has live music 5 nights a week and an open mic night on Monday nights. During Covid, owner Neil Howard created the Colony Beer Garden featuring outdoor music, picnic tables, food and beverages. It’s just a few steps from the Woodstock Music Shop.
Contact info: Colony Woodstock, 22 Rock City Road, Woodstock, NY 12498; (845) 679-7265; http://www.colonywoodstock.com/
Firebird Grill & Lounge, Rhinebeck:
The Firebird features a bar-food menu with specialized martinis, beers and exotic drinks. DJs are on hand every Friday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and live bands perform on Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday is Karaoke night. Open from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. Wednesday-Monday; closed on Tuesday.
Contact info: Firebird Grill & Lounge, 6423 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck, NY 12572; (845) 876-8686; http://www.myspace.com/firebirdlounge
The Smokehouse offers a variety of live music every Friday and Saturday night. The Smokehouse, opened in 2002 by brothers Mark and Stephen Slutzky, also features Open Mic Blues Jam.
Contact info: Hickory BBQ and Smokehouse, 743 Route 28, Kingston, NY 12401; (845) 338-2424; http://www.hickoryrestaurant.com
Harmony is the music room located in Wok ‘N Roll, a popular restaurant in Woodstock. Harmony is a musicians co-op featuring live music every night including a popular Open Mic on Wednesdays. There is no cover charge and a tip jar is passed to benefit the performers. Closed in 2019
Contact info: Harmony, 52 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498
Hurley Mountain Inn, Hurley:
The Inn is a family owned/operated restaurant, night club and sports bar, providing food and drink, coverage of major sporting events and live music. Most noteworthy fact about the Inn: Dustin Hoffman performed his award-winning role from “Tootsie” at the Hurley Mountain Inn.
Contact info: Hurley Mountain Inn, Old Route 209, Hurley, NY 12443; (845) 331-1780; http://www.hurleymountaininn.com
The Lake has served as Woodstock’s hottest music spot: The Band performed with blues harmonica master Paul Butterfield in June 1983; Tony Levin, Chris Botti, Bill Bruford and David Torn rehearsed for their upcoming “Upper Extremities” in December 1998; NRBQ performed for a Memorial Day celebration in 1999; and Phish is known to stop by for an unscheduled session. The Lake reopened in late 2004 after a year-plus of renovation, which included a new sound system, an elaborate art display and a custom wood bar. But it closed again early 2006 and was put up for sale. The Lake was purchased in 2007 and converted into a retail store, Not Fade Away, silencing Woodstock’s most legendary live music venue.
The Lodge, Woodstock:
The Woodstock Lodge was built in the early 1900s. The bar features a wood-burning fireplace, pool table and jukebox. Weekly entertainment includes live music, open mic night and karaoke. There are concerts there frequently and live jazz every Sunday. Now closed.
Contact info: The Lodge, 20 Country Club Lane, Woodstock NY 12498;
The Loft, Poughkeepsie:
The Loft opened in October of 2002 as the final completion of The Chance Entertainment Complex. The club offers Ultimate College Night every Thursday, live bands every Friday and Ladies Night every Saturday. In addition to live music, DJs spin popular hits and lounge music is available.
Contact info: The Loft, 6 Crannell St., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 (845) 471-1966; http://www.thechancetheater.com
Market Market Cafe, Rosendale:
Market Market is a cafe and music venue owned and operated by Brooklyn transplants Jen Constantine and Trip Thompson. The pair are taking deliberate steps to provide simple and healthy food by focusing on local and organic sources. The design of the cafe is “ecclectic-modern” which is inviting to their patrons while they eat and enjoy live music. They have a full program listed on their website which includes live bands, film, open mic, and includes an extremely popular event, “Tributon” where the night’s programming is dedicated to performing the songs of a particular artist. Now closed.
Contact info: Market Market Cafe, 1 Madeline Lane, Rosendale, NY 12472
Maverick Concert Hall, Woodstock:
Maverick’s “Music in the Woods” concert series returns every summer with a full lineup. The season typically runs from the Fourth of July weekend through Labor Day weekend. A veritable Woodstock tradition, these concerts started the summer of 1916 and were held every Sunday afternoon. The program was developed and financed by Hervey White, a Woodstock farm owner and music director. White graduated from Harvard University in 1894 and traveled for awhile, eventually ending up in Chicago West Side neighborhood. It was there he joined Hull House, founded by activists Jane Addams and Ellen Starr. Hull House — one of the most well known “settlement houses” in the United States — was established “as a center for social reform.” It was his 4-year stint in the house that helped mold White’s idea for the perfect social environment — a place where artists, musicians and writers could cohabitate, without huge financial burdens. At Hull House, he met Englishman Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, a wealthy man who shared White’s idea of an arts colony. In 1902, Whitehead purchased 1,500 acres just below Overlook Mountain near Woodstock and asked White to manage the property he called “Byrdcliffe.” However, his relationship with Whitehead became strained and White left Byrdcliffe in 1906. With his dream of a utopian arts community still alive, White purchased a large farm to begin his endeavors. On the property, he built small houses which offered a secluded, rustic experience with few amenities. His farm became known as the Maverick Art Colony, a place where an artist could spend the summer for little or no rent. In 1915, White held a fundraising concert to support drilling an additional well for the half dozen houses he’d built. Although he made only enough money to cover the cost of the well, the festival was widely received and considered highly successful. The following year, at the suggestion of local musicians, White built the Maverick Music Hall and founded the Maverick Sunday Concert Series. The hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and attracts international and national performers each year.
Contact info: Maverick Concert Hall, P.O. Box 9, Woodstock, NY 12498; (845) 679-8217; www.maverickconcerts.org/index.html
New World Home Cooking, Saugerties:
New World offers a unique variety of live music every Friday and is located just over 3 miles east of downtown Woodstock. A few of the bands who regularly appear include the Five Points Band, PEACHjAM, Crawdaddy, Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers, Lovewhip, Los Taino and Mambo Kikongo. Saugerties location closed.
Contact info: New World Home Cooking, 1411 Route 212, Saugerties, NY 12477; http://www.newworldhomecooking.com
The Station Bar & Curio, Woodstock:
The Station was built by the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Company in 1900. The Station lived in the forgotten village of Brown’s Station until moving to Ashokan, and then finally it’s current home in the village of Woodstock. The Station has live music every weekend and
The Tinker Street Cafe (formerly Espresso and now deceased), Woodstock:
The building that once housed Cafe Espresso — and later named The Tinker Street Cafe — is now home to The Center for Photography at Woodstock. Legendary artists were known to frequent Cafe Espresso, including Bob Dylan, who spent so much time at the cafe that the owners gave Dylan his own room on the second floor. Dylan composed two influential albums in the 1960’s here: “Another Side of Bob Dylan” and “Bringing It All Back Home.” As The Tinker Street Cafe, performances were heard by the Dave Matthews Band, who, on a fall Wednesday night in October, 1995, played a set of 13 songs from their “Crash” album, four of which debuted that night: “Proudest Monkey,” “Too Much,” “#41” and “So Much to Say.” In February of 1995, Jewel played a 14-song, 50-miunute set at the cafe.
Towne Crier Cafe, Pawling:
Opened 1972 in Beekmanville, the Towne Crier Cafe moved to its current location on Route 22 in Pawling in 1988, where it has remained one of the oldest, currently-operated venues of its type. This classic cafe-style venue offers a genre of music. Many legendary greats have graced the Towne Crier with memorable performances, although the small stage has been known to discourage big-name entertainers like The Rolling Stones, who decided the stage wasn’t large enough for them to perform a warm-up show for their Steel Wheels tour in 1989. Amy Fradon and Leslie Ritter, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, Hot Tuna, Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Pat Metheny and Orleans are some of the Woodstock locals who have performed at the Towne Crier.
Contact info: Towne Crier Cafe, 130 Route 22, Pawling, NY 12564; (845) 855-1300; http://www.townecrier.com
Ulster Performing ArtsCenter, Kingston:
This 1,500-seat historic performance venue opened on June 9, 1927, as the Broadway Theater. The theater underwent major renovations in the 1950s and, after being added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1979, was renamed the Ulster Performing Arts Center. It is considered the largest Broadway-style theater between New York City and Albany.
Contact info: Ulster Performing Arts Center, 601 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401; (845) 339-6088; http://www.upac.org
Woodstock Playhouse, Woodstock:
At the intersection of Route 375 and Route 212, the Woodstock Playhouse serves as the entrance — the gateway — to Woodstock. However, the current venue is not the original Woodstock Playhouse. Speculation surrounds the demise of the original theater, which was built in the 1930s. It’s widely believed that the torching of the historical building in 1988 was done so by an arsonist — some believe the owner — who vowed the theater would remain intact, then made other plans to construct a much larger commercial building in its place. Upon hearing plans for demolition, Woodstock residents became angry and offered to buy the property. The owner raised the price well beyond the town’s budget range, and after years of failed negotiations, the property was torched and burned to the ground within a few hours.
Contact info: 103 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock NY 12498; (845) 679-6900; http://www.woodstockplayhouse.org